Nestled in the rolling foothills of San Jose’s southeastern Evergreen area is a hidden gem known simply as the Villages.
As you drive up to the secured entrance, you’ll spot a sign: The Villages a Country Club Community. They take that claim to heart. A gated, community-oriented neighborhood centered around numerous country club amenities creates an immersive home for its residents. However this is a senior community, so to live at the Villages you have to be 55 or older. Therefore many residents are retirees who are active, love entertaining guests, and don’t want to mow the lawn every week. But you don’t have to be a resident to enjoy the country club side of things.
Only about a 20 minute drive from downtown San Jose, this area was once agricultural land with vineyards. It is still home to the impressive William Wehner historic mansion, constructed in 1888 and designed by architect David Burnham (this estate is currently closed to the public). The mansion is sometimes called the Cribari Mansion for its later owners, a name that was adopted by the first Village development. The original stone columns (circa 1891) for the estate’s original drive still stand as a prominent feature on one of the golf courses.
Today, the community is still surrounded by untouched rolling hills. And that natural beauty is staying put, as the Villages owns 550 acres of open space with community hiking trails.
The Villages community was built one ‘Village’ at a time beginning in 1967 with the final of 12 communities completed in 1999. Developed by UDC Homes, the first ‘village’ within the community is Village Cribari, featuring condo-style villas. Across The Villages, homes and neighborhoods come in condo/villa and single-family structures, single or two-story, and a variety of architectural styles. Only about 10% of the homes are detached houses, though. It’s a large community, approximately 2500 residencies, with plenty of options.
Golf and Country Club at The Villages
One of the most desirable features of the Villages, of course, are the golf courses. Many residents (sometimes fondly called ‘villagers’) own their own golf carts to zip between home and the green.
Most celebrated is the 18-hole, par-72 championship course designed by architect Robert Muir Graves. There’s also a 9-hole, par-3 course, and practice facilities including a driving range, 2 short-game practice areas, and a putting green.
Between 135 manicured acres of course and 8 lakes, the courses provide enough challenge and interest for any level of player. If you want to learn to play or improve your game there are a variety of instruction programs for all levels and interests. There are six individual golf clubs residents can join.
Guests can play accompanied by residents, or unaccompanied if sponsored by a resident. The clubhouse and green also host corporate golf tournaments. Green fees are not included in the HOA dues, by the way.
But the golfing is not the only feature in the Villages by a long shot. There are so many parts of this community that the best way to display it here is to put them in bullet points:
- four pools and spas
- four separate clubhouses
- a restaurant and a bistro bar
- six tennis courts (USTA approved)
- two bocce ball courts
- pickle ball
- community garden
- state of the art fitness center
- equestrian center
- hiking trails (highest climbs to 2,300 ft)
- post office
- picnic grounds with gazebo
- Lifelong Learning program
- wood shop
- charter outings for residents, such as Sharks or Giants games
- resident clubs and volunteer organizations
- photography dark room
- a weekly community newspaper
… the list goes on! For residents at the Villages, the community and the experience are what counts. And it’s what you pay for in HOA fees to live here. Residents HOA fees go to all of the above amenities except for the golf course fees, but also covers practical things, like building maintenance, pest control, property management, trash collection services, water, property insurance, road maintenance, security, garden and landscaping services (some properties have front yards covered in this common area, others are responsible for their own yard maintenance), and cable TV.
That doesn’t mean everyone pays the same, however, as different ‘Villages’ have different budgets and different HOA fees. There are some features which require additional fees, for instance residents who board a horse at the Villages Equestrian Center will pay additional rent for the privilege.
As in the case with the golf course, there are ways for non-residents to enjoy the use of the Villages community grounds. Some facilities are available for corporate events, such as conferences, dinners, and seminars. Venues provide views and catering for birthday parties, quinceañeras, and showers. And let’s not forget the big event – weddings. The Villages advertises a romantic setting for weddings of up to 250 guests with a full-package service. And, of course, guests of residents are welcome to use all of the facilities available to residents when accompanied by their host.
Interested in living at the Villages?
Came for the golfing? See the Villages Golf page.